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This discussion is probably one of the oldest ,and yet one of the most misinformed topics on water delivery out there. I would like to try it again but this time base it on what you have actually expierienced instead of what you have heard. some topics that come to mind are penitration capabilities ,flow capabilities, the fact that an automatic is decieving in its flows, etc.

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I agree. This has been beaten to death. But, I must tell you that in Salt Lake City a majority of our Engines have one 200' preconnect with a smooth bore and one with an adjustable flow nozzle. It is the Officer's decision on which one is pulled. We had a job last night and I ordered the forward cross lay pulled. It was the adjustable fog nozzle. Reach and penetration were not an issue so we hit it with that. Every job varies. EGH.
We ran some flow tests using three nozzles: our standard SM-30F, a 15/16" SB and a Vindicator Heavy Attack. The Vindicator was the easiest to handle at all flows, flowed more than the others and the stream was great above 150 gpm.

Automatic fog (SM-30) was slightly more difficult to control at the same flow as the SB, reach was the same. We like the SB and the Vindicator for flow and simplicity. Two moving parts and large orifices are harder to screw up.

On the penetration issue I think that inside small or average PD's this is rarely an issue. But larger areas and higher heat allows the air currents to strip away more of the stream before it arrives on target when comparing fog to a solid stream.

Why do we even need automatic nozzles? Shouldn't we set a minimum flow for our lines and base our pump ops around that? It seems the spring may make the pattern better at flows above or below the target, but why are we outside the target range? I guess throttling up to gain some gpm is never a bad option, though.
Bro
What a beautuful and simple statement!!! You are 1000% right! Why DO we need automatics, when pretty much the established interior attack flow is 150 GPM +. Great answer Bro. Anyone care to comment? How about a manufacturer rep, and please, don't sell us your BS.

Adam Miceli said:
We ran some flow tests using three nozzles: our standard SM-30F, a 15/16" SB and a Vindicator Heavy Attack. The Vindicator was the easiest to handle at all flows, flowed more than the others and the stream was great above 150 gpm.

Automatic fog (SM-30) was slightly more difficult to control at the same flow as the SB, reach was the same. We like the SB and the Vindicator for flow and simplicity. Two moving parts and large orifices are harder to screw up.

On the penetration issue I think that inside small or average PD's this is rarely an issue. But larger areas and higher heat allows the air currents to strip away more of the stream before it arrives on target when comparing fog to a solid stream.

Why do we even need automatic nozzles? Shouldn't we set a minimum flow for our lines and base our pump ops around that? It seems the spring may make the pattern better at flows above or below the target, but why are we outside the target range? I guess throttling up to gain some gpm is never a bad option, though.
Hey guys, fairly new to the group. I have been a FF for 5 years. I have very little real structure fire experience due to very few fires in my area. I have been to many live training burns (controlled scenario), burn trailers, hose management and nozzle Hand On Training, read through articles and watched videos.

Everywhere I go I get different responses: some feel like going to smooth bore is suicide due to inability of "left to live," while others swear by smooth bore and think all things can and will go wrong with an automatic. I have only met a handful of people that are completely neutral on what nozzle they use.

To support the original topic of this conversation. Does anyone have legitimate experience of an automatic consistently being unable to put out a fire? Or has anyone needed an automatic for protection and was killed or severely burned because they had a smooth bore.

After listening to a lot of jaw j****** back and forth, I have never heard of a serious event that occurred or someone that has died with the sole factor being they had one or the other.

Does it really matter? It seems like a few test burns at a variety of size fires and types of structures would be able to solve this issue. If I had the resources to pull off a full scale comparison I would, but I don't. Maybe a job for the Mythbusters!

I'd love to see legitimate evidence for one or the other. Please post links if you have them!!
Bro, I can't say that automatics don't put out fire. They just screw up too much. Too many moving parts. Never consistant GPMs. They clog. Shall I go on?

Erik Hayes said:
Hey guys, fairly new to the group. I have been a FF for 5 years. I have very little real structure fire experience due to very few fires in my area. I have been to many live training burns (controlled scenario), burn trailers, hose management and nozzle Hand On Training, read through articles and watched videos.

Everywhere I go I get different responses: some feel like going to smooth bore is suicide due to inability of "left to live," while others swear by smooth bore and think all things can and will go wrong with an automatic. I have only met a handful of people that are completely neutral on what nozzle they use.

To support the original topic of this conversation. Does anyone have legitimate experience of an automatic consistently being unable to put out a fire? Or has anyone needed an automatic for protection and was killed or severely burned because they had a smooth bore.

After listening to a lot of jaw j****** back and forth, I have never heard of a serious event that occurred or someone that has died with the sole factor being they had one or the other.

Does it really matter? It seems like a few test burns at a variety of size fires and types of structures would be able to solve this issue. If I had the resources to pull off a full scale comparison I would, but I don't. Maybe a job for the Mythbusters!

I'd love to see legitimate evidence for one or the other. Please post links if you have them!!
For whatever its worth, I spent my entire career (28 years) with a ton of fires using automatic nozzles and did not have one problem with nozzle malfunction.
Without a doubt, as has been noted time and again, fog nozzles and automatics put out tons of fires daily. But my point is why spend more money on a more complex device that opens us up to more potential for problems where we can least afford them? Nozzle troubles can truly screw up everyone's day, not just the nozzle team. Truck company members count on the nozzle team to protect them from advancing fire and to stop the forward progress that's damaging the structure. The more potential we have for error in this very basic function, the more potential we have for losing the fight at best, losing civilians, Brothers and Sisters at worst.

So while automatics may prove to be fairly reliable, I fail to see their necessity. In most structure fires, adding pressure to gain more GPM will not effect the stream to the point of ineffectiveness, regardless of the type of nozzle. The only nozzle I've seen truly capable of really upping the volume with little consequence is the Vindicator, which has very few moving parts like the SB, but unfortunately has the price of the TFT automatics.

Paul Shapiro said:
For whatever its worth, I spent my entire career (28 years) with a ton of fires using automatic nozzles and did not have one problem with nozzle malfunction.
I believe every tool has a use, and if you only have one tool in your tool box you don't have a very effective or capable tool box. I have used both automatics and smooth bore nozzles depending on the Officer I am working with or whether I am at work or with my vollie dept.. And, they both do their job. If we are operating off of a standpipe, there is no doubt that I want that smooth bore in my hand for reasons of debris and ability to work at lower operating pressures. The automatics give you options for other types of firefighting activities, we do not respond only to interior structure fires, we respond to multiple types of fires and incidents that the automatic nozzle is perfect for, i.e. vehicle fires, protection lines during extrications or during gas line breaks. We have a major oil refinery in our vollie district, the automatic is a necessity to capture a fire on a pump to shut down a valve. Every tool has its use and having just one tool really limits your ability to do your job. Just my opinion.
I can't disagree Brother, other than to say that automatic nozzles are not necessary if you utilize fixed or selectable gallonage fog tips. I much prefer the fixed gallonage fog over the others of this ilk, given that I know what I can expect and the stream looks and feels insufficient when it is under flowed. The added bonus is that their cheaper and slightly less complex. While I'm pro SB for most fire attack, I'd never say fog doesn't have it's place in the toolbox, just some use it more as a specialty nozzle like the piercing or cellar nozzle. Clearly fog nozzles are the tool of choice for getting capture on 3D fires or moving vapors.

Ricky Teter said:
I believe every tool has a use, and if you only have one tool in your tool box you don't have a very effective or capable tool box. I have used both automatics and smooth bore nozzles depending on the Officer I am working with or whether I am at work or with my vollie dept.. And, they both do their job. If we are operating off of a standpipe, there is no doubt that I want that smooth bore in my hand for reasons of debris and ability to work at lower operating pressures. The automatics give you options for other types of firefighting activities, we do not respond only to interior structure fires, we respond to multiple types of fires and incidents that the automatic nozzle is perfect for, i.e. vehicle fires, protection lines during extrications or during gas line breaks. We have a major oil refinery in our vollie district, the automatic is a necessity to capture a fire on a pump to shut down a valve. Every tool has its use and having just one tool really limits your ability to do your job. Just my opinion.
Rick, you are correct, there needs to be several tools in the tool box. There is one reason I like the TFT over the smooth bore for interior work. The tft allows for nozzle control of the flow / pressure which inturn allows the fireman to be armed with more gpm than the standard flow. yes I know that that the big majority of fires can be knocked down at 150 gpm but have how ever been interior and wished you had more? Why not arm the guys with 200 gpm and let the fireman on the nozzle use what he needs. Simple control of the bale on the nozzle coupled with some hose handling techniques will allow this to happen. Let's use me as an example. I am a 58 year old retired dude and stand a whoping 5'7" tall . With a tft and special nozzle handling techniques I by myself can handle a 1-3/4" line flowing 250 gpm. Off course I would need a backup to hump hose but he would not have to be right on top of me.
Lets address the statement about keeping it simple. True the smooth bore nozzle is a basic, real simple nozzle especially compared to the auto. but with it comes a basic function. Is the tft over engineered? In my opinion not for what it has to offer. As a comparaison let's take a step back and look at the old bucket birgade. Doesn't get more basic than that. We gave that up for a more complicated and more unreliable system of fire hose and water applicator,(nozzle). We did this to allow the firemen a more efficient way to deliver water. The trade off is the weak link which is the hose. Yes the hose can break. As mentioned earlier In my 28 years I never saw a tft malfunction. In that same time frame I personally witnessed sevaral hose failures at fires ,one of which resulted in serious injury to yours truly. Sometimes making advancements in technology requires a little more engineering in equipment. Only the end user can make the desicon wether or not it is worth using.
By the way just to show that I am not bias, Nothing better than a big a--- smooth bore on a 2-1/2" blitz line.
I guess this would be a little off topic, but its something I always wondered. When using an automatic nozzle, my department uses TFT Handlines if we want to be very specific, just how much does the bale position effect flow rate? Say you are pumping for 180 gpm when fully opened, how much are you getting at half or 3/4 open?
Reach and Penetration are two attributes of a fire stream that are often over emphasized with regards to smooth bore nozzles. The reality is that there is a negligible difference in both characteristics in regards to fire extinguishment, Especially in residential fires. Those of us that choose a smooth bore nozzle over fog are not claiming reach and penetration to be the deciding factor for choosing this nozzle. I am sure the smooth bore nozzle would have extinguished your fire just as well.

Eric Myers said:
I agree. This has been beaten to death. But, I must tell you that in Salt Lake City a majority of our Engines have one 200' preconnect with a smooth bore and one with an adjustable flow nozzle. It is the Officer's decision on which one is pulled. We had a job last night and I ordered the forward cross lay pulled. It was the adjustable fog nozzle. Reach and penetration were not an issue so we hit it with that. Every job varies. EGH.

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